06/03/2004, 00.00
CHINA - DOSSIER tiananmen
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Tiananmen: Beijing defends the massacre

Rights groups pressure China to prosecute the guilty

Rome (AsiaNews) – On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the massacre of Tiananmen, some human rights groups have organized several initiatives to push the Chinese government to recognize its own responsibility and to prosecute those guilty.

In spite of international pressure - constant in the course of these 15 years - this year too Beijing remains unrepentant on the decision to define the democratic movement of Tiananmen as "counter-revolutionary" and justify the massacre. A foreign ministry spokesman argued that such "decisive measures to stabilize the situation" were necessary for economic growth and the nation's emergence on the world stage.

The following are the initiatives of some groups:

Amnesty International (AI)

AI demands China an independent inquiry into the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators on Tiananmen Square, in order to assess and to try those responsible for the massacre. "Those found responsible should be tried and brought to justice," the London-based group said in a strongly-worded statement released just ahead of the June 4 anniversary. AI "calls on the government to release all those who are still held in connection with the Tiananmen crackdown and who never received fair trials," it added. The group knows at least 50 names which, however, are "a small part  of the real number" revealed by the Chinese authorities.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB)

RWB denounces that "Fifteen years later, the use of the term 'June 4' is still banned in the press and on the internet."

The Paris-based group urges Beijing to release the 27 journalists and 61 "cyber-dissidents", who had been jailed for writing on the massacre. Beijing should also stop harassing journalists who participated in the protests and authorise exiled journalists and dissidents to return to the mainland in complete safety.

Human Rights in China (HRIC)

HRIC, as a member of the June 4th Memorial Global Coalition, will be participating in a candlelight vigil on June 4th in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York City, inviting members of the public to join in calling the Chinese government to accountability for the lives lost in June 1989, and for a reassessment of the 1989 Democracy Movement.

For full details of June 4th memorial activities taking place around the world, please visit the Web site of the June 4th Memorial Global Coalition: www.global64.com/indexen.html






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